Salmon Two Ways

On Friday, we went to Kensington Market with a very specific goal in mind: buy sushi-grade salmon. I had been craving salmon tartare for a while and wanted to try making it. I did my research and found that Baldwin Street had a couple of fishmongers that had good reviews so we went to check them out.

The first stop we planned to go to was New Seaway Fish Market. Turns out this place had closed down and no longer existed. The second place we went to was also the last place we visited and was called Coral Sea Fish Market. It was a pretty small place and I was confused at first because I had never bought sushi-grade fish before and didn’t know what it looked like (if it looked different from regular fish). We spent quite a while staring confusedly at the selection of fish looking for a sign depicting something along the lines of “sushi-grade salmon,” hoping the fishmonger would notice and take pity on us before it got too embarrassing/awkward.

…Yeah, that didn’t happen. I don’t know about Chris, but I felt plenty awkward.

We actually found sushi-grade tuna, but no salmon. Eventually (long after it became awkward), the fishmonger asked if he could help us and when I asked if he had sushi-grade salmon, he pointed to the fish pretty much right in front of us that was labelled as salmon but did not have the label “sushi-grade.” How was I supposed to know??? I think it would be very helpful if these things had proper labels.

Anyway, point is, we got a a bit less than half a pound of fish and sped home. We then froze the salmon because something something bacteria and freezing kills parasites something something.

After a few days of freezing and a couple more days of thawing, it was time to cook! (Does it count as cooking if there’s no heat involved?)

At the fishmonger’s suggestion, we refroze the salmon for about 20 minutes before cutting, because apparently that makes it easier to cut. We cut it in half, using up half of it for plain sashimi and the other half for salmon tartare.

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Don’t they look pretty? Chris made a salmon rose out of the sashimi, which we later transferred to a clean plate (it would’ve made a nicer picture, but I got lazy). I made the tartare, which was based mostly off of instructions Brad had given me a long time ago and estimated amounts of random ingredients.

As a review, the sashimi was okay. The fish flavour wasn’t very strong, and we also had the wrong kind of soy sauce (we didn’t have the Japanese kind) nor did we have any wasabi (we tried using wasabi mayo, but that did not work out). The salmon tartare was also okay. It tasted pretty good in general, but I had put in too much onion and not enough lemon juice. Note that the recipe below accounts for these mistakes and is corrected to what I think would be better. Verdict: would we do it again? Yes, though not too often because expensive.

Recipe for Salmon Rose:

  • Prep time: 22 minutes
  • Cook time: 0 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • 100 g Sushi-grade salmon
  • Japanese soy sauce to taste
  • Wasabi to taste

Instructions:

Freeze the salmon for 20 minutes. Cut the salmon into pieces that look approximately like what you would get in a sushi restaurant. Arrange pieces into a sort of rose formation by layering and wrapping them around each other as seen in the picture above. Serve with Japanese soy sauce, not Chinese soy sauce, with wasabi mixed in.

Recipe for Salmon Tartare:

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 0 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • 100 g sushi-grade salmon
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 red onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Dill to taste (optional)

Instructions:

Freeze the salmon for 20 minutes. While you wait for the salmon to freeze, attempt to do all the other prep work, but get caught up with looking at things on your computer and end up not being efficient at all. After the salmon is done freezing, get someone to cut it up into half inch-sized pieces while you cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh. Cut the avocado into pieces about the same size as the salmon and dump the pieces into a bowl. Dice the onion and add to the avocado. At this point, your partner should be finished cutting up the salmon, so you can add it to the bowl as well. Attempt to zest the lemon by using a vegetable peeler, fail, and make do with the paltry few bits of peel that you managed to scrape off (dump them into the bowl too). Squeeze the lemon over the bowl to get the juice out, because you don’t have fancy appliances like a citrus squeezer because you’re poor. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture (tip: keep your thumb over the opening of the bottle to allow a thin stream to pour instead of a waterfall) and add freshly ground salt (yes, ground salt) and pepper. Note that you can add dill if you want to, but Chris doesn’t like dill, so I didn’t. Take a picture because it looks really pretty. Mix well and serve.

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